Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 5th, 2017
BluRay released: November 21st, 2017
Approximate running times: 78 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Hangover Square was directed by John Brahm, whose other notable films include, The Undying Monster, The Lodger, The Locket and The Mad Magician. Key collaborators on Hangover Square include, cinematographer Joseph LaShelle (Laura, The Apartment) and composer Bernard Herrmann (The Bride Wore Black, Sisters). The screenplay for Hangover Square was adapted from author Patrick Hamilton (Rope, Gaslight) novel of the same name.
When discussing Hangover Square there is no denying the impact of Laird Cregar’s (Blood and Sand, I Wake Up Screaming) haunting performance in the role of George Harvey Bone, a composer who is blinded by love and loses sight of his original ambition to complete his concert concerto. And with his performance delivers a haunting performance that perfectly fuses the character he is portraying with his own personal demons. And though his career spanned a mere six years, the impact he left on cinema is undeniable.
Content wise, Hangover Square features a psychoanalysis angle that was becoming all too familiar in Hollywood cinema during this era. With the protagonists’ amnesia being triggered when he hears dissonant sounds.
And though this film is set in the Victorian era, the visuals have a film noir vibe to them. Another strength of the visuals are how they reinforce the mood and perfectly capture the protagonists’ state of mind. With this film’s most memorable moment visually being its finale. Where the protagonist plays his concert concerto as his world burns to the ground around him.
As mentioned before though this film’s greatest strength is Laird Cregar’s haunting portrayal of George Harvey Bone. Not to be overlooked are the performances of the rest of the cast which include, George Sanders (All About Eve, Psychomania) in the role of a psychologist that tries to help the protagonist and Linda Darnell (My Darling Clementine, No Way Out) in the role of an singer who exploits the protagonists talent to further her own ambitions.
Hangover Square comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The transfer for this release was sourced from a brand new 4k master. And when compared to previous home video presentations. This new transfer is vastly superior in every way. With the greatest areas of improvement being image clarity, contrast and black levels.
This release comes with a one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. There are no issues with distortion or background noise, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and the score sounds appropriately robust.
Extras for this release include, Hangover Square – Vintage Radio Show Performed by Vincent Price, Linda Darnell and Faye Marlowe (29 minutes 38 seconds), a featurette titled The Tragic Mask: The Laird Cregar Story (19 minutes 43 seconds) and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary with film historian Steve Haberman and actress Faye Marlowe and the second audio commentary with film critic Richard Schickel.
The extra titled The Tragic Mask: The Laird Cregar Story is an insightful overview of the short career and untimely death of Hangover Square’s leading man Laird Cregar.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Steve Haberman and Faye Marlowe include, Bernard Hermann / the score, John Brahm, Patrick Hamilton author of the novel from which this film was adapted, screenwriter Barré Lyndon / the screenplay, Laird Cregar, the cast, the friction between Laird Cregar and Daryl F. Zanuck during the making of Hangover Square, cinematographer Joseph LaShelle and critical reaction to the film. Topics discussed by Faye Marlowe include, her origins as an actress, how her screenname ‘Marlowe’ came about, Hangover Square, Laird Cregar, John Brahm and George Sanders.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Richard Schickel include, background information about John Brahm, the cast, the film, Patrick Hamilton’s novel and his thoughts about the film.
Other extras include, trailers for The Lodger (2 minutes 16 seconds), The Undying Monster (1 minute 4 seconds) and I Wake up Screaming (2 minutes 16 seconds).
Overall Hangover Square gets a definitive release from Kino Lorber, highly recommended.